PHOTO: Congressman Mark Green (second from right) stands with the first, second and third place recipients, Arrianne Arcega (third from left), Emily Hawkinson (second from left) and Blythe Persel (left), respectively. / Photo courtesy of Mitchell Hailstone
By ALEXANDER WILLIS
Hickman County High School sophomore Arrianne Arcega was awarded first place in the 2019 Congressional Art Competition during a ceremony Thursday evening. Due to her win, Arcega’s art will soon be hung in the U.S. Capital and she will receive a $1,000 scholarship from Columbia State. She will also be flown out to Washington D.C. with her family for a special ceremony.
Held at Columbia State Community College campus in Franklin, the ceremony also honored second and third place recipients, which were Emily Hawkinson of Page High School, and Blythe Persel of Brentwood High School, respectively.
The competition, which awards one student in each congressional district in the country, dates back to the early 1980s.
As this competition was for students in Tennessee’s 7th District, Congressman Mark Green was there to congratulate the winner. Huddled around a covered piece of art, Green said a few words before unveiling the winner.
“I’m a physician. I give medicine for the body, but art is medicine for our soul,” Green said. “When you look at a piece that really grabs you, and it grabs your heart it can really, really help you. We’re using art in art therapy to heal people who [have] really been traumatized, so the gift that all of you students have is a special one. When you start with a raw canvas, or a computer screen, or a piece of clay, and from nothing, you create something… that is special.”
The winning piece, titled “The Jigsaw of Life,” was a hand-drawn picture that its creator Arcega said represents life’s incomplete nature.
“Art is everywhere, and people don’t realize it sometimes; it’s in the curve of your car, it’s in the curves of the mountains, God’s art, so I think it’s just a part of who we are,” Green continued. “We’re created in [God’s] image, and we’re going to make beautiful things too.”